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Myth Buster: Egyptian Cotton – a luxury or ancient myth?

Posted on Jun 11, 2020

For centuries, Egyptian cotton has been hailed the best and most sought-after bed linen, with retailers, movies and the world’s wealthiest individuals depicting the linen to be the epitome of luxury. The truth is, however, that Egyptian cotton has become an over-used term that now stretches across a range of fabrics and doesn’t necessarily mean you are buying high-quality sheets.

Myth Buster: Egyptian Cotton – a luxury or ancient myth? - News - CLEAN Services

Let us debunk the common misconceptions about Egyptian cotton

The main myth is that all Egyptian cotton is luxurious and of the highest quality, which is definitely not the case.

As mentioned in our thread count myth buster blog, there are two types of cotton fibres – long and short staple. Long staple cotton creates a high-quality fabric with less exposed fibre ends and stronger threads, which can be developed into soft, durable linen. Short staple cotton, on the other hand, exposes fibre ends on the surface of the fabric, which can make it rough to the touch, less durable and cheaper to produce.

Both long and short staple cotton are grown in Egypt and products developed with either of these cotton grades can technically be labelled as ‘Egyptian Cotton’. There is therefore no guarantee that the linen you are buying is of the high-end variety.

Secondly, you would expect that all Egyptian cotton is grown in Egypt, right? Not quite.

Egyptian cotton originates from plants called Gossypium barbadense, which thrive along the River Nile in Egypt which has optimum conditions for this plant to produce long staple cotton fibres. However, Gossypium barbadense can also be found and cultivated in other countries and, in actual fact, India, China and the US are the world leaders in Egyptian cotton production – Egypt isn’t even in the top 10!

Unfortunately, even if you check that your cotton is created using long staple cotton grown in Egypt, you cannot be 100% sure it is of the highest standard.

Some manufacturers take a small amount of long staple Egyptian cotton, divide it into two ply to cut the staple short, and combine it with other cotton varieties. So, even if linen is labelled as ‘made with Egyptian cotton’, it could contain as little as 1% of long staple Egyptian cotton within the weave.

Rather than looking for the country of origin, we recommend considering four more important factors these being; thread count, the fabric weight and density, fabric composition and the weave employed in construction. Weighing up all if these important factors while aiming for long staple, single ply cotton products, will ensure that you can choose breathable and silky sheets for hotel guests.

For more information on what to look for when choosing the best linen for your hotel or guest accommodation, we have created a Hotel Linen Buyers Guide with 8 things to consider before you choose linen for your hotel guests.

Read the Hotel Bed Linen Buyers Guide


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Winner of The Green Apple Award Winner of ‘Most Innovative Company’ 2017 at the Laundry And Drycleaning Awards (LADAs) recognising companies, individuals, services and products that showcase a new level of customer service and professionalism within the industry. Awarded the ‘Sustainable Supplier’ title at the 2017 Footprint Awards; recognising organisations at every stage in the food supply chain from growers, producers, manufacturers and distributors, through to all hospitality and foodservice operators in both public and private sectors, their suppliers and other stakeholders. CLEAN has joined the list of inspirational British companies to feature as a 2016 finalist in the Amazon Growing Business Awards 2016: shortlist in the 'Company of the Year – Larger Firm category'. Winner of ‘Commercial Laundry of the Year’ 2016 at the Laundry And Drycleaning Awards (LADAs) recognising companies, individuals, services and products that showcase a new level of customer service and professionalism within the industry. RoSPA Gold Merit Award (achieving Gold Standard for a 5th consecutive year). Recognised internationally, the RoSPA Awards have become one of the most sought after accolades for many organisations from every industry sector.